Tabletop RPG Design: Drakonas (Karrius's fantasy heartbreaker)

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Karrius, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    Simply put, some problems with 3e and 4e run so deep just "houserules" can't fix them. The Fighter/Wizard problem. Multiclassing. Terrible feats. A broken RNG with skills. Magic items being terrible.

    Simply put, I do intend to work at a "system" level to a large degree. But I don't intend to do some radical new system with bizarre dice rolling that will tottally bring RPGs into a new era or whatever. I intend to make a fantasy RPG that is familiar, and "just works". Really, it's like what Sirlin says about Starcraft 2 or whatever, about how just taking what is there and improving, polishing, and taking what you've learned. I'm about to go in on equipment, magical items, and monsters (hopefully) this weekend, showing how I DO hope to innovate there, at least.

    Also, I think it's important to know "where you're going" so to speak. Your combat rules are not the place to start. You need to describe who the PCs are, what they'll be doing, what players have to interact with, etc. Sketch out what the system will look like without the details, and THEN fill those details in. That's kind of what I'm doing first - going over a theoretical "player's handbook" chapter by chapter, putting more in each time.

    Also, d100 systems are neat, and can have a lot of awesome effects when it comes to stuff like crits and special abilities. However, I am going for KISS with this system, and never plan on handing out %s that are different from 5% or a multiple thereof, so a d20 is basically just a d100.
  2. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    I'll start with the classes and attempting to categorize them as you seem to have them represented by your description. The reason for this will be to help narrow down overlaps or issues.

    Assassin: Set up required Burst DPS. Sneaky sneaky STAB. Fairly straight forward stuff here. I'll ask now, how flexible will weapons be? What if i want a spiked chain and throwing knives? Daggers and a bow? The left leg of my estranged uncle and a banana creme pie? Just read that the system will have very low lethality. By all rights then this class should have easiest access to actual lethal options.

    Barbarian: Conditional high DPS rage monster? Mostly melee?

    Beguiler: Distraction based with light elemental magic? While i like the linking of light with illusion I do think damage through illusion is an easy enough concept to fool with as well.

    Blackguard: Defense + Debuff/slow DoT

    Druid: WC3 druids minus shapechange. Pets + support? rather summon with support focus?

    Elementalist: Okay... So we'll have 4 types of walls, 4 types of swords, 4 types of.... I'm not a huge fan of elemnentalists usually because they tend to be rather boring and I think elements have a LOT more potential in them that mixed classes tend to bring out, but whatever. That said I still see issues with the "its a mage, but maybe you'll make a flaming sword!" Why would a mage ever do this? I may not like the flavor, but i really don't understand the role.

    Fencer: Melee setup + high DPS as opposed to burst for the assassin. Seems like a charisma character. I'm honestly thinking of Elan from OOTS. How does one of these fight ranged?

    Knight: Tank/commander.

    Magister: again i think your major mage classes are almost too general. There's a lot of neat stuff you can do with specifics, but if you don't want to thats fine. This again strikes me as jack of all trades, but less than the elementalist.

    Myrmidon: constant reliable DPS. While everyone else is playing the "fill X condition to win!" game this seems like the guy you fall back on to keep things busy and get shit done.

    Necromancer: Doesn't the name really say it all? Yes. Yes it does. Minion oriented dark magic? Fragile caster with buddies?

    Oracle: I like predictions and see a lot of ways that could be fun. That said he seems to be the only healer along with your druid. Healing kinda tends to be important. personally I hate the "one healer, one tank, one DPS, one ranged, one mage" party requirements, but your call on how that ends up.

    Paladin: Tank, buddy buffer, reactionary killer.

    Ranger:Crippler/controller and ranged DPS. Weapon question applies again. An entire class shoehorned into "bows"?

    Warden: Shapeshifter with a time mechanic on changing i'm assuming? Gets to be a jack of all trades because he can't quickly switch?

    Onto your worries-
    Now, some things I'm worried about; Myrmidon has a shitty name.
    Meh. Fighter/brawler has a ring to it and is general enough.

    Warden, Ranger, Barbarian, and Assassin maybe don't deserve to be four different classes.
    Warden strikes me as ok, but the issue with these classes is when someone says "Well rather than be everything, i'll just be X, and you all assume i'm going to be X" So if the warden is ALWAYS going to be a fucking bear, he might as well be a melee tank. You'll need a reason for him not to be able to specialize, and hopefully it's better than "x uses/he gets tired/x time limit" Ranger feels weak. Mainly because I don't like the idea of range only. Combine with fencer maybe?

    Do I need a bard?
    I...dislike the concept of bards. You might need something like that, but in keeping with your "epic people are epic" what does an epic bard do? I think several of the roles you described could be the tricky party leader type. Beguiler, fencer, ranger, knight, etc.

    Do I need a warlock (blaster with demonicy pets) ?
    I'd say just expand necromancer.

    Am I missing any major roles? I think this is a decent enough chunk to start, and classes can always be added later - I also have a TON of classes set up.
    Maybe...i'm not sure. That's a hard question to answer until you start to really nail down the powerlevel of a class. If you looked at a monk in DnD as your powerlvel, everyone else seems nuts, if you look at a wizard, they all seem weak.

    Anyways more as I read/think.

    Some more thoughts-
    Feats seem...well thought out, but is there a limit? The problem is that i feel like you're going to need maybe different ways of acquiring feats as well. The most common "become a vampire" method is "OH SHIT IT BIT ME". This shouldn't mean that i now have to lose a feat to get the vampire feat that I should have. Maybe Skill feat slots, that you get as you level, and then racial and organizational feat slots which you have fewer of and gain through conditions?

    As for classes-
    My one thought is the super pet. Summoner from pathfinder and syllabear from dota pop into mind as the easiest examples. Basically a bastard who is kinda tough himself, but has a really big demon/monster/undeadguy/blob/angry tree/whatever that he's been working with this entire time. They both grow semi synergistically and it gives a lot of area to play with. I'm not sure you really need a class like this, but so far it seems like the ones you have either change their pet between fighters, or summon LOTS of them. The 2 man team setup gives you an inherent way to balance things and possibly another semi jack of all trades with consequences.

    Whats been bugging me-
    Explain your magic system. As i see it we've kinda got the following

    4 elements- fire/wind/water/earth(HEART! GO PLANET!) These are not even close to explained yet so all I'm getting is "they do what you think they do" which is kinda the most boring one. Do I want a fire sword, wind sword, water sword, or earth sword? Hmmm.....that doesn't seem like a real hard choice now does it?

    Light- Manipulation of light. Lasers, shadows, images. I like this. However it also seems to overlap with the "control" concepts like dominate, charm, cause fear sorta stuff.

    Nature- Snow white on steroids? Trees grow fast and animals come to your aid sorta thing? A little cliche and narrow looking so far. Both druid, ranger, and warden have access to this?

    Necromancy- As you've explained it it's just undead summons. Don't know why you need a warlock when it seems like this overlaps with necromancer so hard.

    Shadow magic- You use this term for the assassin. Is the idea that an assassin has a slightly different take on the light mages(beguiler's) shadow magic, or is this something else entirely? The way i'm seeing it is more like gimpy translocations/deceptions. This is kind of an issue.

    Testosterone- Zerks, warcrys, pally buffs, fencers, etc. In short anything that's basically magic, but not because you aren't a caster you're a barbarian/ranger/whatever

    Divine- Please don't make gods as complicated as DnD. It seems like the first step to really understanding DnD is understanding an arbitrary and complicated plane system. That said i'm guessing you won't, but i'm not even sure divine magic will exist with what you're doing. At best this will just fall under "testosterone" or maybe appear for "the oracle"?

    Dark magic- Sap strength kinda set the tone for me. Basically the offensive part of necromancy, but slow? Sap health, not knock it off in chunks.

    "energy"- Invisible walls, "The Force", and lightning bolts? Dark souls comes to mind. Just raw energy manipulation. Seems a little meh as of right now.

    I'm mainly asking this now because it's one of the key parts in understanding how a character will exist and it's a little cloudy at the moment since you haven't explained it yet.

    If anything in the above post is confusing please ask me to clarify. I'm writing this while tired and feverish so I'm not expecting it to be an easy read.
  3. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    First, I am not going to answer everything because I hope some of it will be more obvious on my next "pass through".

    The lethality stuff will be explained later. In general, I am going to try to encourage the assassin to be good at "precise" weapons... this is the next essay, so you're going to have to wait here.

    You're just looking at the wrong source material:

    Throwing weapons, bows, etc. A good point though in that I will have to give them some ranged tricks in order to keep up with what I said.

    The magister IS sort of the jack of all trades mage, but I did see them as more defensive overall. Mind you, remember that EVERYONE does damage to win. But the magister is the guy who does a lot of force waves, pushes, telekinesis, etc. His stuff effects the world around him, or creates mana barriers and such like that. He's sort of a "pure" form of magic, if that makes sense.

    I imagine the ranger's powers being largely weapon-agnostic... which encourages bows. If you can hit an opponent so that they're stunned, you'd rather do it at range then with a sword. They'll be able to hold their own in melee, but most able to pull of their tricks with range.

    The time mechanic is mostly "setup". More akin to changing stances then a ticking clock.

    Interesting thought...

    Before I get to magic, let me first say that things aren't evenly divided like they are in D&D "Arcane" and "Divine". The ranger and druid have a similar magical power source, sure, but they're not entirely the same, and one can do things the other can't. In fact, there will be little direct overlap between their ability names and such. So calling it a "magic system" isn't really accurate, because magic is being treated no differently then any other ability.

    The elementalist gets to either specialize or go broad, up to them. Each element is going to have things they are "best" at, and even among similar choices there is a good range. For example, you might get a choice of an elemental terrain effect - flaming walls, stone walls, howling winds, and ice ground all have VERY different effects in play.

    The beguiler's "light" manipulation is really just a sort of subset of illusions. If illusions can make images shimmer in the air, why not have them make deadly lasers? I realize that's not great logic, but I didn't want all beguilers to have to rely on shadowy evil-looking stuff for damage. So hitting people's shadows with black darts, or firing happy burning rainbows of doom is your choice.

    Pretty much, and pretty much. Cloak yourself in darkness, walk through shadows, make yourself appear to be someone you aren't, maybe even make darts out of pure shadowstuff, pin someone's shadow to the ground so they can't run.

    Yeah the gods will be NOTHING like D&D gods. This straddles the line between setting stuff and mechanical stuff, so is on hold. But I will not have gods that "do anything", and the only mechanics that directly tie into gods are a specific feat cluster (like a tree, only not!) for each god, where you get powers in tune with them.
  4. Efrate

    Efrate New Member

    Hey Karrius, a few things I am noticing. What is the purpose of tanks and healers if the game is low lethality? Why not load up on DPS instead? The effects can be nice but same with buffing, debuffing, etc. Unless its low lethality for a well constructed party, in which case, that takes away from the whole lot of things.

    From a combat perspective especially, if everyone can do damage in fairly effectively, as it seems they can, especially with low lethality unless your super emphasize RPing, whats to differentiate most classes? The roles aren't needed from a combat perspective, meaning the all magister/elementalist team will still steamroll most anything with little harm possible. And with no set skills, they can literally do everything, it seems to severely decrease the importance of any variation. I get that its more easily accessible and whatnot, but seems to me to discourage variation in teams.

    With no skill class needed for their normal myriad of tasks, its seems your only choice as a player is which method of killing stuff you prefer, and seems to overly emphasize combat, which with lower lethality seems like it will tend to boredom or annoyance. "Another pack of trolls, thats the 8th today, everyone use their range skill and kill them before they get here, or not, not like they are a threat."

    With no healer or tank needed, its tends to just a bunch of DPS with slight flavor variance, and while that can make you feel powerful, it seems to eliminate challenge, and that eliminates the feeling of reward you get.

    Killing a goblin is nothing special, but if the dragon doesn't pose as much threat, your accomplishment in beating it seems a lot less. Defeating a Dragon should feel quite a bit different than beating a goblin, but if they are similarly unchallenging...

    Just a few thoughts.
  5. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    I am going to answer previous concearns with just a short paragraph.

    Low lethality != "you never lose". It just means "If you lose a fight, you don't DIE." You get captured, held ransom, humiliated, fail to accomplish your goals, let the BBEG get away with the artifact, lose your stuff, etc. In fact, despite being "low lethality", I expect PCs to lose fights in my system more than in any other RPG - because they CAN lose fights, without it being a TPK. As opposed to pretty much ANY other RPG ever, where losing a fight means the game is over, end of the story.
    Lofobal likes this.
  6. Efrate

    Efrate New Member

    I see. I guess I can see that being useful, but without the danger of dying it all seems less intense and approaching into humdrumy after a while, but I can see how it could be better in some scenarios.
  7. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    The 3e encounter balance model handles this reasonably, given that the dragon has a higher "Challenge Rating" than the goblin. In theory defeating a CR7 dragon is about as much of an accomplishment as defeating a well-coordinated squad of six CR2 goblins (although dragons tend to be tougher than other enemies of the same CR due to biased designers).

    This isn't necessarily true against a good encounter gauntlet. It just means attrition across a sequence of encounters is more important.
  8. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    Ok sounds good. Answers all make sense and what not, and I look forward to the next pass.
  9. Gordeaux789

    Gordeaux789 New Member

    Thanks for clearing that up. the broken skills is what has irked me a lot about D&D, the amount of variance in that d20 roll for a skill check makes training most skills an all or nothing thing, which is terrible for classes that don't get a lot of skill points every level.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your updates/ideas.
  10. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Just so you know, that's not how CR works. Monsters are not worth a fixed CR value, and their growth rate relative to CR is exponential, not additive. Twenty goblins is not worth the consideration of a single lvl 20 character, much less an entire lvl 20 party.

    I'm way rusty, but IIRC you have to double the number of creatures in order to get +2 CR. Also, is your goblin example taking into account the number of the creatures encountered? At lower levels especially, you tend to see an encounter of appropriate CR consisting of several weak creatures, for the simple reason that it's so easy to accidentally one-shot lowbie players. I don't remember exact stats on a goblin, but one of them alone seems insufficient to challenge even a lvl 2 party.
  11. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    I did take the exponential growth into account, it just happened to be the same. The CR on both the goblin and the dragon were made up on the spot, however; a goblin is probably about CR 1/2.

    On the other hand, encounter balance goes funny when there are a large number of enemies involved. If a thousand goblins face a level 10 party, a fight which favors the goblins by 5 CR on paper, the goblins probably still can't even touch the PCs and lose a war of attrition... unless the PCs do something stupid, in which case they lose one PC per stupid action.
  12. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Apologies then, so long as you know how it works, that's the big thing.

    The whole scaling issue isn't as clean cut as one might think either, but I'll take that to PM.
  13. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    Alright, falling behind here because of other distractions, lets try to make up some ground.


    First, let's talk about a problem I have. I want damage to scale in a way that "feels" beefy - level mid level elementalists WANT to throw giant piles of dice. People don't want to be dealing damage in the same order of magnitude at minimum level and at max level. So damage scaling has to be more like D&D 3e than D&D 4e. It's easy enough to scale spells; arcane bolt can simply deal 1d4+1 per two levels. But if greatswords deal 2d6+str, even adding in a straight +level bonus or whatever won't work unless you get multiple attacks. And lots and lots of attacks is something I want to step away from.

    I have a stupid idea that may or may not work, that I am for now calling "martial dice". Basically, every class has a chart simply listing how much damage they deal with a physical attack of any sort. Weapons give special abilities onto this. There is likely a minor unarmed penalty (although this is in no way decided yet), and big nasty two handed weapons can give some damage bonuses. This way, you can still have fencers who can deliver a decent punch if need be, but also want to grab their rapier if they're disarmed. And you have situation where people will grab for improvised weapons ("I want to use the blinding strike, but my greatsword doesn't allow it, luckily there is this curtain here") without making weapons totally useless.

    Armor is likely just going to have two major categories - light and heavy. There will be relatively few armors at low levels, that just give different benefits to a small degree. Armor will generally not restrict movement speed. Classes will also gain a class-based bonus to defenses. A fencer in a chain vest may end up with as much armor as a fullplate kitted blackguard. At higher levels, there will be some quasi-magical armors that are just really cool and thematic and give special abilities. Pure bone fullplate that prevents unintelligent undead from attacking you, armor made of solid ice, or coral, or stone, or leaves, or whatever. Fantastic stuff that only opens up later on.

    Magical Equipment

    Magical items are going to be purposefully unbalanced.

    Is that shock out of the way? Ok? Good. Here's what I mean - D&D has a problem where magic items are 'expected', and so feel necessary and boring. Upgrading your +3 sword into a +4 sword isn't exciting, it isn't fun. And if you DON'T get that sword you feel left out. Plus, how is that sword at all interesting? "Numbers go up" is not fun, this isn't a facebook game. What games need are magical items that feel rare and special. This means not everyone might get some, and that can be OK. This also means magical items do more than just "make my numbers bigger". If Flametongue is a weapon that lets you deal fire damage with your attacks, as well as set objects on fire, and shoot out a frigging flamethrower from your sword, it doesn't NEED to give you +3 hit and damage just to feel awesome.

    As such, there will be a long list of magical items that come in two types.One is "slightly generic" - things like Icebrands, Flametongues,Oathbows, and whatnot that you expect to be there, but still aren't available for purchase. These will still have some history and lore attached to them. An Icebrand, for instance, might only be creatable by plunging a sword into the heart of a white dragon to slay it. This lets PCs go on an adventure to make these items, if they so wish. The second type will be more campaign specific. In my setting, if you are an awesome person, your awesomeness rubs off on your stuff. The "Staff of Skulls" was once owned by Gwendolyn Dayas, a powerful necromancer. Her dark magic has rubbed off on it, and imbued it with her own powers, specializing in the diseases and pestilence that she had control over. She has since gone missing, and the staff has been seen in other hands...


    One of the goals for the system that will not be compromised on is that the difference between a "monster" and a "PC" will not be large. Now, enemies have different requirements, and so do not need to be statted up in the same way PCs do always. But if an NPC blackguard steps in, he must be *ABLE* to use the same rules as PC, even if he's an enemy or an ally. As such, these are some things I will keep in mind:

    -D&D 4e's minion rules sucked, but there is a need for cheap, disposable monsters. There will likely be an option just to create level appropriate "simple" monsters. If you want to use a whole swarm, rather than making special 1-HP versions, you just throw low level versions at the PCs. At level 1 you can take a swarm of kobolds, at level 5 a swarm of town guards, at level 10 ogres, level 15 hill giants, and level 20 earth elemental the size of mountains. But these guys can also be used perfectly fine as non-minions. The hill giant that is a minion at level 15 can be a nasty combat lieutenant at level 10, who while very simple, is VERY threatening. This is going to be hard to do the math for, but doing it any other way will be stupid.

    -NPCs will be able to be created like PCs in all ways. Feats, race, equipment, class, blah blah. This will be a valid option.

    -Rules for creating monsters both quickly and well balanced. D&D 4e had the right idea here. Choose level, choose role (leader, artillery, brute, etc). You are given a list of stats. You then have so many "slots" to fill in. Slots can be special abilities (breath weapon! ice aura! stone gaze!), or qualities (fire immunity!) or whatever. The whole thing will be designed to quickly make a creature. The key point here is THERE IS A LIST OF SPECIAL ABILITIES YOU CAN GIVE PEOPLE THAT ARE CONSISTENT. Anyone who has DMed D&D 4e knows how frigging STUPID they were with special abilities, like having half a dozen "Evil Eye" attacks that all do different things.

    -I am toying around with "Colossus" fighting rules, for monsters so big they're not just the enemy, but also the battlefield, inspired by certain games. We'll see if it works out...
  14. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    Time to actually lay down some mechanics. First thing first, I need some KEYWORDS. These words are set, and while they can be modified later on, once they are done they are set in stone never to be changed again. More keywords cannot be added as time goes on. Keywords are going to be things like damage types, ability tags, bad statuses, etc.

    First, damage types. These tell you "how" damage is dealt, and need to be able to be interacted with interestingly. So if someone deals fire damage, other people should be strong or weak against it in some way. The damage types I am planning are:

    Fire: You burn stuff. Fire elementals are strong against it, while all sorts of cold creatures are weak against it. Also useful for destroying flammable objects.
    Cold: You freeze stuff. Cold creatures are strong against it, while fire creatures are weak against it. It can also be used to "soften up" tough objects, making them easier to break.
    Force: Arcane bolts, sonic vibrations, or impacts otherwise caused by energy. Particularly effective against "solid" things, like golems and steel doors, or even arcane barriers.
    Energy: Lightning and electricity, mana streams, and similar 'flowing' power. I feel this is needed as a damage type, and it's bad vs what force is good against. May be particularly effective against creatures who are flying.
    Purifying: "Holy" style energy, also caused by nature. Wrath of nature attacks, purified swords, and similar. Does not have a real good/evil connotation. Undead are beaten by it, but it sucks vs objects.
    Corrupting: "Unholy" style energy, caused by flesh eating poison, the touch of a specter, or a blackguard's vile soul drain. Does not have a good/evil connotation.
    Mental: Caused by mental assaults, domination attempts, horrifying fear, attacks against your psyche, etc. Creatures without minds are immune to it.

    So those are our damage types. What about statuses? First, I was not going to give anyone any actual status immunites. Sure, undead can't be hit by a "Cause Fear" spell, but that's innate to cause fear. They can still be feared or demoralized by "Turn Undead". And while a golem might not have "Sap Strength" work to apply the weakened condition, a druid's rusting grasp will surely weaken that golem.

    I was planning on having the following:

    Battle Enders: If you get this to work, it's basically equivalent to defeating a creature by reducing their HP to 0- and just as hard.

    Asleep: Knocked out, easy enough.
    Demoralized?: A maybe status - too afraid to fight.
    Dominated: You are under someone else's control. This will mostly be inflicted BETWEEN battles, but can maybe also be worked on really weak people.
    Paralyzed: You just can't move, and are totally helpless.

    All or Nothing: These conditions are simply "I have it for X long" conditions. They do not have degrees. You have them, or you don't.

    Blinded: You can't see! Penalty to attacks and defense, and BIG penalty to ranged attacks.
    Confused?: You are totally disoriented. I'm not actually sure if I need this one, it's very... JRPG-y?
    Deafened: Deafened seems pretty important, and gives a defensive penalty, but more importantly a big "situation" penalty, as you can't hear allies in battle.
    Entangled: You can't move, as something is grabbing you.
    Stunned: You lose a round. Or maybe more!

    Conditions with Degrees: These are your more standard "take a penalty" statuses. The intent is that they're handed out with a degree. That is, you don't get Slowed - you get "Slowed 3", meaning whatever slow gives a penalty to, you get it x3.

    Distracted: Penalty to defense. In addition to stuff like just mental distraction, pain effects go here, too.
    Feared: Penalty to attacks. A pretty standard status, I think.
    Slowed: Penalty to movement speed, possibly attacks and defense.
    Weakened: Penalty to physical rolls of all sorts. In addition to strength-sapping, poisons, weakening undead with holy light, and rusting an iron golem go here.
  15. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Is everything else physical damage and/or will there be differences between 'crushing', 'slashing, and 'piercing' (or in general multiple types of physical damage).

    Confused seems to have no unique space between being distracted, slowed, weakened, blinded, and/or deafened.

    If I wanted a confuse spell I'd just make it apply Distracted, Slowed, and Deafened or some other set of what you already have. Though feared as a name feels wrong in that you'd want to use that condition in situations where it isn't about fear (for example confuse might be distracted + feared + slowed, but feared is wrong flavor wise).

    You may be missing magic related conditions like silenced. A lot of the effects you have seem like they're going to affect physical characters more than magical ones.

    You're also missing positive conditions and what not, but I imagine those will come later and largely be opposites of what you have now.

    Demoralized can be something like "yielded" or "surrendered" used for sentient (and maybe some primitive) creatures that are self-aware enough to stop fighting in an attempt to preserve their own life. Then you could also allow player characters in some situations to self-inflict this status to avoid death (with maybe some rules about doing so).

    How do you intend for stuff like "take x burn damage every turn for 5 turns" to be represented? Is that just the sort of thing where you deal the damage every turn or are you intending on having a more concrete representation of it? Especially in terms of "oh I'm on fire, let me jump in water to avoid damage" kind of way.
  16. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    Currently leaning towards everything else being physical. I just don't really care if spears are useful vs skeletons, and frankly weapons are easy enough to switch between, especially with no magical items, I don't want to encourage everyone to carry around three separate weapons just for damage resistances and such. "Physical' maybe needs to be set down as its own damage type, but I cannot yet decide.

    And yeah, confused seems like it should be cut.

    Silenced is a good one, although I might change it to "Mute". I question how many things will cause it, but it may be useful.

    Positive conditions are trickier. While they're useful shorthands, I think a system like 3.5's bonus types are more useful here, especially as positive conditions need to be more varied by default then negative conditions.
  17. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Well physical should probably be a type for consistency on spells like 'earthquake' (which maybe under your system is force + physical) and 'meteor' (probably fire + physical).

    Also you mention that cold spells may soften up enemies or what now. What's that represented under?

    I can imagine using such a status if you want to say have petrified which causes Paralyze, Softened, and some beneficial defensive boost.
  18. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    Objects. That is, I am considering having cold damage specifically remove hardness, or whatever the equivalent is, even if it doesn't necessary ignore it itself. Mind you, that might be too complicated, but from people I've seen who have played ice mages "I use my frost to break stuff" is like the number 1 thing they want to do.
  19. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    Freezing an enemy and doing little damage to do so and having them technically still be alive until you smash them with a hammer is an immensely satisfying feeling.
  20. qzujak49

    qzujak49 Active Member


    The physical attacks do not need lots of attack rolls. Not while fighting a lone enemy at least. You might want to include those attack rolls, but the only reason I'm perceiving for including them is a realism factor. You've already stated you're not going for realism, so multiple attack rolls can be done away with unless you're going to include something like a Distracted1 status effect that procs on every successful attack. Attacking multiple enemies might be handled through conservation of damage dice or through whirlwind style attacks.

    The martial dice table and similar tables sound like a good idea because you might want to make the curve of damage per level be jagged at certain points instead of having a smooth curve. Maybe every 5 levels there is a +10 to the damage of some attack while this same attack also has +1d6 damage per level.
  21. Karrius

    Karrius Well-Known Member

    Ok, this is long overdue. Let's talk NUMBERS.

    Attacks are going to be done in very simple d20 style. 1d20+accuracy vs defense (aka AC, will, ref, ex). If you hit, you deal damage which is a bunch of dice, and the target takes it against their HP. Easy.

    What I'd like to do is have a simple, flat "You start with X HP and Y damage, and these numbers go up by a set amount every level. I played around with these numbers:

    HP: 20 + 15/level
    Damage: 1d8 + 1d8/2 levels + level

    It produced this nice little chart:


    Where HTK is the average number of hits required to kill an opponent, "HTK-2" is "the average number of hits required to kill an opponent two levels lower", and "HTK+5" is "the average number of hits required to kill an opponent five levels higher".

    Overall, I think these numbers work pretty well, keeping in mind that there is also an accuracy and defense difference at different levels. HTK-5 at higher levels seems like it's really high - "Why can't high level players kill these mooks?!", but the thing to keep in mind is, that's ALSO the number that keeps the demon lord from one-shotting the party wizard. As such, three is a pretty good number.

    High level people picking on low level people are also more likely to have special abilities, open up with multi-target effects, just use totally debilitating debuffs, etc. So I think these numbers can work, for now, barring some major problem. I also like that at low levels, a bunch of level 6 people ganging up on two level 8s can be an interesting fight - but at high levels, more and enemies are needed, which is how I think it should be.

    Now, for accuracy and defense. Barring any change of plans, I am going with the typical D&D defenses: AC, Fortitude, Reflex, Will. You start with a set number in each of these dependent on your class, likely ranging from +0 to +5 (aka 10 to 15). Different attacks have a set accuracy number, ranging from -2 to +7. Both of these just have your level-flat out added to them. So if the paladin has a base will of 15, that means they'll have a will defense of 16 at level 1, and 35 at level 20.

    AC is a bit trickier. People expect armor and shields and whatnot to modify this, but I also don't want a naked warrior to be totally useless. So what I'm planning is that shields give a bonus to AC, but armor does not - armor provides some other sort of defensive benefit, likely a small amount of "take X less damage from physical attacks" bonus. This will be a FLAT bonus, for the sake of simplicity.
  22. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Dear God Yes.

    I've always conceptually despised that armor manifested by making you "hard to hit".
  23. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    I've always wanted armor to lower AC and make it so it gives other defensive boosts. Shields upping AC makes sense.

    Also one simple question- It always REALLY bugged me that you basically can't dodge spells in Dnd, only save vs them. How are you handling that.
  24. CWheezy

    CWheezy Well-Known Member

    I always thought the save action was explained as you dodging out of the way though?
  25. LoneKnight

    LoneKnight Well-Known Member

    Some spells targeted AC/touch AC and stuff like that too, for what that's worth.

    I dislike armor as DR because
    1.) HP is an abstraction. Hence armor is also an abstraction. DR is trying to simulate armor acting as you perceive more realistically but that does not actually work out in practice anyway.
    2.) Having it work as a flat DR will present its own problems, such as a fullplate guy being invincible to an army of guys with weapons only doing d6 (assuming that fullplate will be the "best" armor and there'll be at least 6 armors here). Of course this can be worked around by, say, crits ignoring DR or a good grapple system (the latter which would be in theme as grappling was pretty important between armored guys).
    3.) It's one more calculation. Not that important admittedly.
  26. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    1. They claim that HP is an abstraction, but the game system itself has never supported that. The fact that it's called +hit and +dmg grounds the whole process in the players' minds. All sorts of crap stops working when connecting with a swing doesn't translate into successful physical contact. Anything that does anything on hit no longer makes sense when you follow that notion.

    2. That's as it should be. A dude in plate should be flat out immune to a child throwing rocks (1 dmg), not just dying a little bit every 20 throws or so. Similarly, that guy's armor should not suddenly become worthless against the same child if he's hog tied (helpless opp = autohit).
  27. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Plus you could make DR against certain damage for example Armor has 3 Damage Reduction against blunt attacks, not so much against piercing or arrows.
  28. LoneKnight

    LoneKnight Well-Known Member

    Karrius did say that he does not want to have different physical damage types.

    Delha: A DR of 6 would be, by DnD standards, immune to a sword. And arrows. You can't be serious about that. And then there's shit like goblins that do about d4 with their tiny weapons. Do you really want a guy in plate to just swim in goblins with no chance of ever actually taking a hit? I mean, at the very least it should be a mixed bag á'la unearthed arcana.

    Also, about HP and abstraction: I don't think it's possible to take HP at face value unless you accept that a higher level character can take an axe to the face 20 times and not even feel dizzy (this is kinda important imo, if you REALLY got hit your effective combat ability would go down). It is true that on-hit effects kinda mess with this but I feel that it's STILL more of an abstraction than... whatever else it could be.

    For what it's worth, I'd limit on-hit to crits.
  29. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    "immune to a sword" make stronger swords.

    It's a numbers game. And what sort of swords should fullplate be immune to? This is karrius's game but if i'm rocking full plate i'm probably not worried about the dude with the sabre unless he hits me somewhere unarmed(crit)
  30. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    DR of 6 makes you immune to a strength 10 guy with a shortsword. It does not make you immune to the same guy with say, a longsword or greatsword, or anyone with a real strength score (not a lot of fighters out there with STR under say 14ish). More importantly, this system has damage that's already divorced from gear. Be it through martial dice or some other method, that system is going to very quickly scale past the point where DR6 is godlike.

    Regarding goblins: They suck. A goblin is physically equivalent to a human child. There's no reason a warrior in full plate should honestly fear that some random 8 year old is gonna punch through his armor with a kitchen knife (or they toy bow with it's say, 10 lb draw?).

    I'm not saying HP is always concrete. I was just disputing your claim that it's purely abstract, which you've now pretty much conceded.

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